After the intensive 3 week training course at the Training Centre the real work begins. Students are accompanied home by an Instructor who will spend anything from a week to 10 days settling the new team (i.e. owner and guide dog) into their new environment. This is to properly prepare the student and dog for their future together. This is the most important part of the training and is carried out on an individual basis.
The most important routes are selected (e.g. to the shops, to church or place of work). These routes are practiced over and over during this period and new training words are introduced (e.g. find the door, find the stairs).
It’s amazing to see how quickly the dog learns to find different places by name alone and one marvels at the memory of the dog in these types of situations.
The student now a GDO (Guide Dog Owner) is asked to submit a weekly report for 4 weeks after the Instructor has left and then to submit a monthly report for a further 11 months. Problems that arise generally occur within the first 6 months. G.D.A. provides all GDO’s with a 24 hour emergency number should the owner require assistance.